Today we are considering a prayer by King Jehosaphat. He was king of Judah. He was mostly a good king but he did some foolish things. Like you and I, he didn’t always get things right. For example he educated the people of Judah about God but left the shrines to other gods in place.
In this Bible passage Jehosaphat is facing 3 large armies coming from the West to attack Judah. Jehoshaphat ‘was determined’ to seek God’s guidance so he called the nation to fast and pray.
Jehoshaphat leads prayer from the Temple courtyard. His prayer includes phrases about who God is and what God has done. He also includes a couple of phrases used by David and Solomon in their prayers. (Compare v6 with 1 Chronicles 29:12 and v9 with 2 Chronicles 6:24-30. Then Jehoshaphat gives God an explanation of the problem at hand and requests God’s help with it. We have heard before that God knows all things but because he wants a relationship with us he wants us to tell him what is wrong and to ask for what we need.
Whole families were there, standing alongside the king, waiting for guidance from God. It demonstrated unity and solidarity.
Jahaziel is a musician. He is not mentioned elsewhere but his father Asaph wrote Psalm 83, perhaps about this incident. Anyway, Jahaziel was filled with the Holy Spirit. He tells the king that the battle is not his, but God’s. God will do the fighting. Tomorrow they are to go to a particular place and take a stand where they will see what God will do for them.
The king’s and the people’s response is to offer prayers of worship, while the musicians sing praises to God very loudly.
The following morning, Jehoshaphat gives a word of encouragement as the army sets out. He sends out musicians first, people to praise God as they lead them towards the battlefield.
Literally, at the moment the priests started shouting and singing praises, God was setting traps for the advancing armies. We don’t know if they are angelic ambushes or simply men or bandits that God has caused to be in the right place at the right time.
In the confusion, the different armies begin fighting one another until every last one of them is dead.
When Jehoshaphat’s men arrive, there are bodies everywhere. And among the bodies are armour, weapons, horses and all kinds of valuable treasures that will bless the people of Judah.
The battle was God’s. There is no way that Jehoshaphat or the people of Judah could claim this victory. Where yesterday they were facing overwhelming odds and certain disaster, today they are overwhelmingly blessed with plunder and treasure.
In the face of tough times, when the enemy is threatening to overwhelm us, we need to seek God. We need to stand with others as we wait for direction and we need to be reassured that God will fight the battle for us.
Because God doesn’t just fight the battle for us, he does it in no uncertain terms and in a way that blesses overwhelmingly.
And let’s not forget that worship is key. When the odds are against us, praise and worship can be the trigger for an amazing miracle. It may not be what we feel like doing but it keeps our eyes and heart focussed on God and not on our own situation.
This is how we must fight our battles, with prayer and praise.
What are you facing tonight? Share it in the comments or with someone you trust so that you can seek God’s direction together. Then spend some time in praise in worship and see what God will do.